Who is Mateen Manek?
This question has many answers: actor, writer, filmmaker, musician, performer, teacher, poet…sometimes, I don’t really know what to tell people. I love doing different things, and I’ve always believed that trying new things and developing your skills is so important to your growth.
At a young age, I loved creating. I used to tell stories to myself using pencils as characters when I was bored in class, and would make things out of paper and whatever I could find. I knew from the beginning that I would be an actor, and would memorize and recite movie lines to my parents and their friends.
When it came to school, I wasn’t the best student. I didn’t enjoy reading or studying, and I somehow managed to frustrate every teacher I ever had. I was told that I had a learning disability and that I would never be accepted into university.
Hearing that from the teachers that I trusted, I was devastated. I can’t imagine what would have happened had I listened to those teachers telling me to settle for less than I am worth. I don’t like being put in a box and being told this is what is going to happen to me. Limits shouldn’t stop us from being who we want - limits should help us become better.
Through drama class, I discovered a lot about myself. I always tell everyone that drama class changed my life for the better and made me who I am now. Art has a power to help people grow and develop as human beings, teaching empathy, acceptance, understanding, and many other things.
My knack for creating continued. I went from YouTube videos to making a short film after graduating from high school. I had planned to make a feature length film, but the failures from that project taught me so much more than I could ever imagine. I learned how to play the guitar and wrote a few songs. Writing music somehow moved to writing poetry, which led to my poetry book ‘The Traveller: Part I’.
And now I am here: learning, experimenting and growing. Most importantly, I am happy.
Through the café, I want to bring my experience to you. I want to help people get into storytelling with workshops and classes, and I want to share my stories with you. This website is a community for people to explore and be creative. So join me.
And, hey. If you ever want to chat, feel free to send me a message.